Don’t Die, Dragonfly by Linda Joy Singleton

dontdiedragonflyI have never been a great fan of young adult novels which probably stems from the fact that I haven’t read a whole lot of them when I was a young adult. I started reading my mom’s books when I was 10 and there was just no way back to the books my older sister was reading at the time. While there is a trend in books which are aimed at young adults but read in great numbers by adults (a trend the Harry Potter-series has probably launched), Don’t Die, Dragonfly is not a part of it. This is a young adult novel.

So why have I, proclaimed non-fan of young adult novels, read it? It is the first part of The Seer Series, and as such part of my latest research project that concerns itself with the supernatural. There are fairly few very well-known books about seers – at least as far as I can tell from my research so far. Vampires, werewolves and witches have gained a steadier footing in their genre. The interesting aspect of the seer is probably its rooting in our world since there are quite a number of people claiming to have or see with the third eye. Psychics are a reality of our time. While I’m as suspicious of people claiming to see the future as any other person, I still like the idea of there being all kinds of supernatural beings – and I certainly like to read (and hopefully write) about them (in the future).

Don’t Die Dragonfly is the first part of the story of Sabine Rose who has ‘the gift.’ She is sixteen and has just moved to her grandma’s because of problems she’s had at her old high school. Since moving to her grandma’s, she has been deliberately blocking her ‘powers’ because they’re the reason she’s gotten into trouble. But then they start again. Sabine has a vision about a girl her age with a dragonfly tattoo, there is blood involved and danger is hinted at. But this is only part of the mystery as Sabine meets the girl from her vision and is soon caught up in a tale about cheating and thievery at her high school. And then there is Sabine’s new boyfriend Josh who is too good to be true, and the boy who is living in the barn at her grandmother’s: Dominic. And he’s got a gift of his own.

Singleton wrote an intriguing first chapter to her Seers Series with a young protagonist who is afraid of being ostracized by her peers. While the plot is tight and gets better with each page, the story is written in the sometimes a little annoying voice of a sixteen year-old. And as with the Twilight-series one is never quite sure whether it is the voice of the author herself or a rather good attempt at emulating the voice of a sixteen year-old. It’s an easy read and well concocted for young people interested in the supernatural, while I will probably not work through the whole series. I find myself craving a fantastic tale with a more mature protagonist but find that Don’t Die, Dragonfly is still a deserving read.

The House on Sandstone by KG MacGregor

When Carly Griffin comes home on a vacation to Leland, Kentucky, she expects everything to be just how it always was: smalltown-ish, small minded and too small for her ambitions. But meeting her high school crush Justine Hall for the first time in twenty-five years changes a lot of things, most of all Carly herself. Suddenly smalltown, Kentucky is not the worst place to be – if it weren’t for some unresolved issues in Justine’s family.

The fact that I have so far read this book four times this year should give you a clue whether I like it or not. I do. In fact, it is one of my favorite romances ever – and I have to admit that I have read A LOT of romances. So, why is this one so special?

It really is a conglomeration of things that I really like and love that makes this book so good. It has two sympathetic main characters who are tied down by bonds they made through life. Their families play an important role in their lives which is not always an easy burden to bear. There is angst, there are problems but there is also the joy of two people meeting after a long time and realizing that the spark is still there.

With Carly and Justine it seems like they are continuing a conversation they had twenty-five years ago, just as they continue a kiss that changed both their lives. It is heart-warming to watch them rekindle their love but also some fears that cannot just be brushed aside. MacGregor has an unerring feel for human frailty, Justine’s feelings of guilt are so well written that one wants to reach out and hug her. We kind of do through Carly who proves an even better friend than Justine could have wished.

The one thing I cannot get over is that these two women are good people. They help out when someone needs them, they care deeply about their families and friends. The fact that there are things that might keep them apart makes the reader blink their eyes in confusion saying: but they are perfect for each other. And indeed they are. Here is a couple you want to see together because it just feels right. This might be a convention – at least we are told that it is so in every romance novel – but I don’t feel like it is because there are actually very few couples in romances that I feel so strongly MUST be together.

Lately, I’ve come to think about the way we read, how we perceive the same text differently, how we interpret through reading and come to such different outcomes. When I say, this is one of my favorite romances (actually it is one of two favorites and I will probably review the other one shortly) I am aware that others might not feel so strongly. And you should be aware of this also. But I do think this is very much worth your time whether it will become one of your favorites or not. It is well written and it is about life.